We always knew Diego Costa was a wrong’un didn’t we. Even when he was inspiring Chelsea to countless wins while grinning from ear to ear. But no player is a bigger than a club – especially one with as much money as the Blues – and the Sunday papers suggest that Roman Abramovich is already planning to replace his errant Spanish striker with someone a bit more wholesome.
Step forward Germany’s lean, mean winning machine, Thomas Muller, who is just as lethal and argumentative as Costa but less likely to bite someone’s face.
The Sunday Express says the 27-year-old is “unhappy” at Bayern Munich after being repeatedly dropped by new manager Carlo Ancelotti – not without justification given that he has only scored one Bundesliga goal all season. This dip in form is unlikely to put off Chelsea, who are said to be preparing a £75m bid “in case Costa quits”.
But will he quit?
The Sunday Telegraph has an “exclusive” story claiming that Costa’s Stamford Bridge team-mates have urged him to apologise for his row with the club’s fitness coach. The paper’s main evidence for this appears to be that Cesc Fabregas and John Terry ‘liked’ one of Diego’s Instagram posts saying “Come on Chelsea”.
Meanwhile, ESPN wheels out the line that Costa has “told friends” he has no interest in accepting a lucrative offer from China. Which sounds slightly fishy on the basis that a) it’s hard to imagine that Costa has any friends and b) is an obsession with money and complete lack of professional integrity something you would tell your friends about?
Sticking with the integrity theme, the latest line on Dimitri Payet – reported by the Mail on Sunday – is that Marseille have offered to loan the playmaker back to West Ham for the rest of the season if the Hammers agree to sell him to them now. It seems the sole advantage of this arrangement for the east London club would be that Irons fans could enjoy five solid months of abusing him every week.
The Sunday Express says Paris Saint-Germain’s search for a striker has led them to Christian Benteke, who could swap a relegation fight with Crystal Palace for a Champions League campaign with the French champions. It’s about time something nice like that happened to him.
Elsewhere, Manchester City’s desperation to sign some full-backs could prompt them to spend £20m on Tottenham’s Ben Davies (Sun on Sunday), Newcastle want to re-sign Andros Townsend from Crystal Palace (Mail on Sunday) and Chinese Super League side Shandong Luneng want to sign Ashley Young from Manchester United (Sun). The headline on that story is Ashley Yuan, which is just silly.